Flood Insurance Facts, Coverage & Questions Answered!

The Myth: Homeowners Insurance Covers My Home From All Damage

Flood insurance is one of the more commonly misunderstood insurance coverages. Many homeowners assume that if they have a homeowner’s insurance policy, then they’re covered from all water damage that could occur to their home. This is not true. Flood insurance is not typically included in standard home insurance policies – it requires a separate policy altogether.

Where Can Flood Insurance Be Purchased From?

Most places you purchase home insurance from will also offer you an option for flood insurance. Flood insurance can be purchased easily from your local independent insurance agent – including us!

Is Flood Insurance Expensive?

Flood insurance prices will vary depending on many factors. Those factors can include:

  • Value of your home
  • Location of your home (is it likely to flood – near rivers, streams, swamps etc.)
  • Primary or secondary residences
  • Basements
  • & more.

If you want to get a general idea, we can quickly provide you with a quote or you can go to FEMAs website and look up your home address and assess your risk. The quickest way to understand your risk and get a quote would be to contact our agency.

Doesn’t FEMA Cover My Flood Loss?

In order for FEMA to step in and help, the President of the United States must declare a FEMA emergency. This is done in roughly 50 percent of major floods (according to FEMA.GOV). Even then, the assistance provided is a low interest loan that needs to be repaid. This is not free money given out.

A Pipe Broke In My House, Do I need Flood Insurance?

No. A broken pipe in your home is not what flood insurance is for. This would be covered by your standard home insurance policy.

My Sewer Backed Up Into My Home, Is This Flood Insurance?

No, unless the sewer backed up clearly because of a flood and rising flood waters. There is a coverage available called Water & Sewer Backup coverage. You may ask your agent about this and what it covers.

How Fire & Water Can Create Floods

Do you live in or have property located in an area that recently had wildfires? Trees suck up so much water when they are alive. If these trees die off, this creates excess runoff in areas not typically prone to flooding. This can increase your chances of being involved in a flood.

Only you can decide whether having flood insurance is right for you. While it is mostly optional (unless you live in a high flood prone area and your mortgage carrier requires it), it may help save you thousands of dollars in expenses.

Call us today to run a no obligation quote for you. We can quickly produce numbers for you so you can decide whether or not flood insurance is the right choice for you.

Thinking Of Buying An Old or Historic Home? Consider This Before.

Older homes exude character. Not only do their walls tell a history, but often the character, details and warmth inside of one of these homes is unmatched in today’s quickly built society. Instead of taking months to build a single home by hand, entire neighborhoods can now be constructed in less time.  If you’re considering purchasing an older home, there are many things to consider during the search as well as when you’re ready to buy.

Outdated Electrical

Updating a home’s electrical system to a more modern electrical panel, grounded switches and updated in-wall wiring can be very expensive. According to Angie’s List, expect to pay anywhere between $8,000-15,000 for an average sized home. Additionally, you may require an upgraded service to the home which can add additional cost. Because you need to get into the walls, this also means repairing all the walls in the home that had to be cut out so you could run the new wiring and disconnect the old.

Outdated Plumbing

Older homes typically will have some form of older plumbing still in place even if the majority of the system was replaced. The most common ones are the sewer line, water supply line and, depending on when the system was updated, could even be out of date again. For instance, if galvanized pipes were replaced by Polybutylene piping in the 70’s, this would also need to be replaced.

Foundation

Depending on the home, it is possible the home doesn’t even have a foundation. Some older homes were built on post and pier meaning they don’t have a concrete foundation they sit on. This can make insuring a home more difficult. The simplest way to check for any foundation problems is to just walk the home. Do the floors feel crooked? Are doors difficult to close? Are there cracks in the walls? These are all signs that the home may have foundation issues.

Dry Rot

Throughout the life of any home, a leak will develop. Whether around a window, the foundation or the roof leaks occur. If a length of time goes when that leak is not detected the water can get into walls and stay wet for years. This can cause dry rot. Detecting dry rot can be difficult. Your best indicator may be your nose. Does it smell musty?

Mold

Mold goes hand in hand with dry rot. If water enters the home and things remain wet, mold can form. Again, use your nose and see if you can detect any musty odors.

Asbestos

Asbestos was a commonly used product in building materials in from the 1930s-1950s. It was used on everything from siding to ceiling and wall plaster materials to duct tape. While buying a home that contains asbestos isn’t necessarily bad as long as the product is not disturbed, it can cause a huge challenge and added cost if you plan to remodel. Do your research.

Lead Paint

Older homes built prior to 1978 have a high likelihood of containing lead based paint. While most have likely been painted over by now, it is important to understand that these paints can be dangerous if you plan to remodel or disturb them.

Insurance Costs

Generally speaking, it is possible that it will cost more to insure an older home. The only way to determine pricing on an individual home would be to get a quote on the specific address. You may find that it is less than insuring a newer home, so do your homework and work with an independent agent who can find you a great rate on your home insurance.

While older homes come with their challenges, it is usually impossible to recreate the charm, character and history these homes have. While you enjoy being a caretaker of this property we can help you protect it with a great home insurance policy.

The Benefits of Buying Your Insurance Policy Through a Local Agent Vs. Online Yourself

There are many ways these days to buying an insurance policy. Some people may feel the easiest way is to simply go online and purchase it yourself. You could even shop many carriers yourself to find the best rate for the coverage you need. However, there are many more additional benefits you could gain by going through a local insurance agency.

Save Yourself Time

As we mentioned above, yes you could shop for insurance yourself through several of the top insurance carriers. But, what is your time worth? By shopping with a local insurance agent, we can do the shopping for you. Get 10 quotes or more at once! We’ll provide you many choices by shopping our top insurance carriers to find you the best coverage at an affordable price. In fact, many of our companies are likely the big ones you’ve heard of. If for any reason you want to change insurance carriers down the road, we can do that for you – you don’t need to change agents.

Get Professional Advice

Instead of guessing what coverage you might need, you can get professional advice by working with a local insurance agency. Since we specialize in this field, we can listen to your needs and find the right coverage that matches. We can also ensure you don’t have any gaps in coverage in the event you have an insurance claim.

Truly Understand The Coverage You Are Buying & Additional Coverage Options Available

Insurance can be complicated. We try to simplify the process. Not only do we want to help you understand your current insurance policy, but help if you are interested in different coverage options. Feel confident knowing you’re informed about exactly the coverages you have and what you might want to consider.

Score a Discount

Our licensed agents are discount detectives. Let them search for all the hidden discounts so you get the best rates and coverage for your money. We understand it is important you have affordable insurance coverage. That’s why we are constantly looking for ways to get you to qualify for a discount. If you are unhappy with your insurance plan at renewal, we can look at coverage options through other carriers to find the best fit for you.

Have a Relationship With Your Agent Vs. Calling an 800 number

We are a phone call or email away. By working with the same agency time and time again, we can help you with anything. From claims, to policy updates or questions, we strive to be a partner you trust and can rely on.

If you are in need of an insurance policy, call Heuer Insurance Agency. We can help you find affordable coverage for your auto, home or business. Get a free insurance quote today.

What Holiday Gifts Should I Insure?

The season of giving (and receiving!) is such a joyous time. Not only do families typically make the most effort to get together, but it is a time to enjoy some holiday cheer with some gift exchanges and great food and drinks.

If you’re lucky enough to be the recipient of an expensive gift this holiday season, you may wonder if you need to insure that product. While your existing home or renters insurance policy already includes a certain amount of coverage for personal property, some items like jewelry and collectibles should have their own line of coverage called an endorsement or floater. Home insurance isn’t designed to cover special items, but is instead designed to provide coverage for day to day items that are easily replaced like clothes, appliances and furniture. If you have special jewelry or collectibles, consider a special policy or endorsement for these items.

Jewelry that you may want to have a floater or endorsement for can include:

  • Expensive watches, rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings
  • Rare or vintage pieces

Collectibles that you should consider insuring can include:

  • Comic books
  • Rare toys
  • Furs
  • Stamp collections
  • Firearms
  • Sports cards

Other things to consider when insuring your jewelry or collectibles:

Keep an up-to-date appraisal.

Collectibles and fine jewelry can increase or decrease in value dramatically. The last time the economy turned down, collectibles took a big hit because people didn’t have the money to buy them and the market was flushed with people trying to sell them to make some extra money. Like the collectible market, fine metals like Gold, Silver and Platinum fluctuate daily so if you’ve gone years without getting a jewelry appraisal, you may want to revisit that.

What does insurance pay on the items you have when it comes to a claim settlement?

If you purchase a collectibles or jewelry endorsement it would be good to understand the differences in policy coverages. For instance, by selecting something called agreed value, you can ensure you get that amount of coverage. If you insure your rare Spider Man comic book for $4,500, if something happens to it and it is stolen or destroyed, you’ll get that $4,500 not the current value should it depreciate.

Most of the companies we represent allow these items to be scheduled right on your home or renters insurance policy. Call an agent today to see if you should add an endorsement for your special item. Enjoy the holidays and if we can answer anything for you about your home or auto insurance during this holiday season, please give us a call.

Benefits of Bundling Your Insurance Policies

Insurance Agent Sparks, NV

Insurance Agent Sparks, NV“Bundle your home and auto & save!” “Save by bundling your insurance policies together!”

We seem to be inundated with commercials and advertisements telling us to bundle our insurance policies together. What is the reason behind this and is really a better option for your insurance?

Benefits of Bundling

Discounts

Some of the benefits associated with bundling your insurance policies together are discounts. The more you bundle, typically, the more you save. While the most common bundled policy is the home and auto policy, some insurance companies discount other product bundles such as auto and motorcycle. It depends on each carrier.

Consolidated Billings

Bundling your policies together can help eliminate confusion over your billing. While home insurance may go to your escrow company, it is easier to understand when your bill comes from a single source.

Access to more products

Many companies will require the auto policy to write an umbrella policy. While typically the umbrella policy is written under the property portion of your insurance. Do note, there are some companies who will just write an umbrella policy.

Why would you not bundle?

Sometimes bundling your insurance policies just doesn’t make sense. Some circumstances in which you may not be able to bundle your insurance can be:

  • Young drivers
  • SR22 Insurance
  • High Risk Drivers
  • Dangerous dog in household
  • Earthquake or Flood Insurance

Every once in a while auto insurance may seem too high, but you’re happy with your home insurance carrier. In this instance, you can use the full benefit of an independent insurance agent by writing the home with one carrier and the auto insurance with another carrier. Just because you’re splitting the policies doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay more. An agent in our office can show you all the prices between several carriers and help guide you as to what makes the most sense for your specific situation.

If you’re in the market for a new or replacement insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. Independent insurance agents are the only agents who have access to multiple top-rated insurance companies. By shopping with an independent agent, you can compare coverage, pricing, payment plans and look at bundling your insurance policies all with one phone call. The benefits of having an independent insurance agent don’t stop there. As your life changes, your agent can adapt to your needs finding you’re the right new company for your new situation such as getting married, having a teen driver and more. Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your insurance.

What is Sr22 Insurance and Who Needs It?

At some point, it is possible that you may need to have SR22 Insurance. SR22 Insurance is actually not insurance at all, but a certificate that proves you carry insurance and meet your states liability requirements. The reasons why you may have to carry a SR22 vary and can include:

  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  • Too Many Tickets
  • Too Many At-Fault Accidents
  • Reckless Driving
  • Driving Without Insurance
  • Driving While Suspended

Who writes SR22 Insurance?

There are several top-rated insurance companies that will write SR22 Insurance. Because we’re an independent agent, we can compare rates between them to find you the best price and coverage for your situation.

Is SR22 Insurance expensive?

Generally speaking, yes you will pay quite a bit more for SR22 Insurance. Because you’re higher risk and insurance companies base their premiums on risk, your insurance coverage will likely be higher than before you needed the SR22.

What do I do with my SR22 certificate?

You actually don’t have to do anything. Your insurance company will notify the correct departments on your behalf. As long as you pay your premiums. If your coverage lapses, they will notify the state that your coverage has lapsed and you will then no longer be able to drive until you get it reinstated.

How long do I need to have an SR22?

It depends, but often times you will be required to carry SR22 Insurance for a three year period. Check with your local agencies for your specific situation.

Can I add an SR22 to my existing policy or do I need new insurance?

Some insurance companies will not accept a driver who needs SR22 Insurance, so check with your agent. We will be able to tell you whether or not you need a new policy or can simply add one to your existing insurance policy.

We can help you identify a company who can write your SR22 insurance. While many dread having to carry one, we can make it quick and easy and even issue the policy over the phone for you so you can get back on the road. Call our office or request a quote online.

I don’t even own a car! Why do I need SR22 insurance?

This is referred to as non-owners SR22 insurance. The coverage covers the individual with a driver’s license, not a vehicle. Each state varies with different laws so be sure to talk to one of our agents to see exactly what you need.

If you need a SR22 Insurance policy, contact our office and ask to speak with a licensed auto insurance agent. We will make the process quick and easy for you, offering you many choices between companies as well as payment options to help you along the way. Contact us today.

If I Damage My Car From Hitting Wildlife, Am I Covered?

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture cites as many as 2 million collisions with animals occur each year.

It can be a scary moment when you are driving 70 mph on the freeway and a deer or other wildlife comes out of nowhere and runs right in front of your vehicle. Your first reaction may be to slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid the collision and hurting or even killing the animal. But, what happens if you do make contact with the animal and your car is damaged from it?

Are you covered?

It depends on what auto insurance coverage you have purchased. Comprehensive and collision insurance can provide you with coverage.

Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when you make contact with an animal while driving.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that if you decided to swerve, missed the deer or animal and strike a tree then you could be covered by collision insurance on your auto policy. Because every insurance carrier is different, their claims department will handle it with the coverage they feel is most fitting to the situation.

Safe Driving Tips To Always Remember

Driving hazards present themselves daily and can occur year-round in every state. Here are three things to always remember when it comes to driving your vehicle and wildlife.

Always stay alert

If you are driving in rural areas, be aware that wildlife is always nearby and keep a lookout towards the sides of the road.

Don’t swerve your vehicle

Swerving cannot only results in a worse injury and more severe accident, but your insurance company might find you at fault if you swerve to miss a deer and end up hitting a tree, another vehicle or guard rail. Regardless, remember to avoid swerving in general. Tightly hold the steering wheel, apply the brakes and stay in your lane.

Be more aware at night

Animals can become more active in the evenings and some travel in groups. If you see one, chances are there are more nearby. If there are two lanes, drive in the lane farthest away from the side of the road.

Tips If You Happen To Hit The Animal

Like any accident, there are a few things to always do immediately.

  • Safely pull to the side of the road. Give yourself as much space as possible then turn on your emergency lights.
  • Check to see if everyone in your vehicle is okay. Hitting an animal is startling so take a moment to take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves.
  • Call the police to report the accident and arrange a tow if necessary.
  • For claims purposes, always take photos of the damage to your vehicle and make notes.

If you have questions about your auto or vehicle insurance, contact our agency! We can provide you with an insurance quote and answer your questions.

Do I need special insurance to drive for Uber or Lyft?

Whether you are thinking of starting a new career or simply want to make some extra income during your down time, working for companies like Uber or Lyft can be a good move. However, you will need specific insurance to be fully covered as your personal auto insurance policy and the insurance provided by Rideshare companies provides gaps in coverage or potential excess liability.

Ridesharing is defined as: individuals who use their own vehicle to transport people from point A to point B in exchange for money.

If you are considering working for other companies such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, Uber Eats, Instacart or other delivery type companies, you would want a rideshare insurance policy as well.

A rideshare insurance policy provides coverage during:

  • Waiting for a ride request.
  • When you accept a ride request and are on the way to pick up the rider.
  • When you pick up the rider & drive to the destination.

In what situations does my personal auto insurance cover me?

  • When you are offline or not using the Uber/Lyft app.
  • The period after you’ve dropped off a passenger but are still logged in and are waiting to match with another passenger (for instance, you roll forward and hit another vehicle with no rider in your car).

Does Uber or Lyft or any other rideshare company provide insurance for you?

Uber maintains insurance on your behalf such as third party liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and contingent comprehensive and collision coverage.

However, your current auto insurance policy may offer a rideshare endorsement that can be added to your policy. You may receive additional coverage too that goes above and beyond the limits provided by the Rideshare company. Talk to one of our agents first. We’ll explain the difference in coverage options.

What if I don’t have rideshare insurance & I’m involved in an accident?

The consequences of not having a rideshare insurance endorsement could result in a denial of coverage by your main auto insurance company. Whether you fail to tell them you are using your car for rideshare services or simply didn’t know you needed the insurance endorsement on your main auto policy, could leave you liable for the entire loss. This leaves you with paying for injuries, medical bills, car repairs, property damage etc. if you get into an accident.

If you are considering a career or part time job for any rideshare company, reach out to our agency! Rules and regulations change regularly, so be sure to research yourself what changes may have occurred since this article was written. We can go over many coverage options with you to ensure you have the right insurance protection. Getting the right policy is easy, we just need to know that you’re driving for a Rideshare company and we can get you the right policy.

Heuer Team Park Clean Up

The Heuer team participated in another park clean up this past weekend! Back in July, we announced we adopted the Vista View Park located at D’Andrea Pkwy through the City of Sparks. Check out some photos below!

Everything You Should Know About Insurance For First Time Home Buyers

Owning your first home is one of the most exciting and biggest accomplishments in life. It is a memorable time and something to be proud of. With this excitement comes the responsibilities of maintaining and insuring the home. While we can’t help with the maintenance, we can help you understand and properly insure your new home.

What Does Home Insurance Cover? Homeowners insurance is a broad policy that covers the structure of your home against losses like fire, theft, vandalism and other weather related losses. You also have coverage for liability for injuries to others while visiting your property such as slip and fall claims or even dog bites. It is important to understand that losses from floods and earthquakes are typically excluded from the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. You can get a separate policy for these types of losses.

What Does Home Insurance Cost? The cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy varies on several factors including your credit history, your previous loss history (dog bites or liability, or property loss claims), the value of your home and any scheduled property like jewelry and art. Our agency can give you exact numbers and because we’re an independent insurance agency, we can compare several home insurance companies at once for you to find the right coverage at the right price.

Does Home Insurance Cover Detached Structures? If your home has a detached garage or other detached structure like a home office or art studio, your policy can include things like “Other Structures Coverage.” Talk to an agent to learn more about insuring your detached structures.

Are My Personal Items Covered? Homeowners policies come with personal property coverage. This amount varies by company and can be increased with most companies. Be sure that the amount of coverage you select for personal property is sufficient for the items you own.

Are Dogs okay? Most dog breeds are okay to be covered under the liability portion of your home insurance policy. Some dog breeds such as Pit Bulls, Akitas and other dogs are classified as dangerous and may be excluded from coverage. Check with your insurance carrier for a list of breeds they will not insure.

Many options and additional coverages are available for home insurance that are not included in a standard home insurance policy. Check with a licensed agent in our office for additional coverages you may want to include with your new home. Again, congratulations on your new home purchase and if we can help you in anyway, please let us know. We appreciate the opportunity to be your homeowners insurance agent.